REVIEW: Dairy Queen Harvest Berry Pie Blizzard

Dairy Queen Harvest Berry Pie Blizzard

What is the Harvest Berry Pie Blizzard?

It’s harvest time in the Dairy Queen kingdom, and the realm’s loyal subjects have rounded up a trifecta of berries – raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries — to mix with pie pieces and vanilla soft serve. It’s not the Blizzard of the Month for September though, as the retread Pumpkin Pie Blizzard gets that title, even though that version seems better suited for October or November.

How is it?

Dairy Queen Harvest Berry Pie Blizzard 3

Berry good. I mean very good. Of course, my Blizzard looked nothing like the promotional photo with plump berries happily swimming with their pie piece friends in an ice cream vortex. I could only find one near-intact berry on top, but there were plenty of berry pieces throughout and the crunch of the pie pieces added a nice texture to the softness of the fruit.

Dairy Queen Harvest Berry Pie Blizzard 2

It would be interesting to see how this Blizzard tastes with just one or two types of berries mixed in because the combination of all three creates an indistinct, somewhat tart berry flavor. What flavor is it? Is purple berry a flavor? It’s not a bad flavor. It’s just nothing special. Even when I got a decent size chunk of fruit in a bite, it was hard to tell which one it was with the other two berries also fighting for the attention of my taste buds.

Is there anything else you need to know?

You might think that with three types of fruit this Blizzard would be healthier than other DQ concoctions. Well, you’d be wrong. I guess it doesn’t matter what you mix in with soft serve and pie pieces because the result is going to be a high-calorie and high-carb sugar bomb. Even though this looks more like a smoothie than a Blizzard, nutritionally speaking it’s about the same as the ones loaded up with chocolate and candy. And most smoothies are not that healthy either. If you’ve ever looked at the nutritional info, they are also packed with sugar and carbs, which is precisely why they taste so good.

And as the photos attest, my local DQ apparently has no mini Blizzard cups, nor did they last time I visited. The coffee cup certainly did the job to insulate my treat and keep it from melting, but it’s still a bit off-putting to see a picture of steaming coffee as I wolf down a Blizzard.

Conclusion:

You can safely order this Blizzard without fear of having your mind blown, socks knocked off, world being rocked or other cliché of your choice, but the Harvest Berry Pie Blizzard is a nice change of pace if you are looking for something without chocolate and candy that will give you or your loved ones the false impression that you are trying to eat something healthy.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: Mini
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Mini) 380 calories, 16 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 39 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Pillsbury Churro Toaster Strudel

Pillsbury Churro Toaster Strudel

What is the Pillsbury Churro Toaster Strudel?

A marriage between the theme park treat and a fancy Pop-Tart, aka Toaster Strudel. As always, these require some manual labor, first figuring out how to separate and then open the icing packet, and then put it on the pastry. Then the race is on to finish the Toaster Strudel before the icing liquifies from the heat.

How is it?

Pillsbury Churro Toaster Strudel Art

Underwhelming, much like my attempt to recreate the pastry art pictured on the box. These really aren’t bad, but they really aren’t churro flavored either. I had to ask my taste buds to dig down deep to find even a hint of anything resembling churro or cinnamon flavor. The best way I can describe the filling is nondescript sweet, warm goo.

Pillsbury Churro Toaster Strudel Closeup

Pillsbury Churro Toaster Strudel Uncooked

Looking at the photo on the box, it seemed to show something extra going on with the pastry crust—either cinnamon mixed in or perhaps little flakes of churro pieces. But I couldn’t distinguish anything different about the crust compared to a regular Toaster Strudel. The icing was chocolatey, as promised, with almost a pudding taste rather than a standard chocolate sauce. If someone had given me this without any hint as to the flavor, I’m not sure I would have guessed churro.

Is there anything else you need to know?

You can get drunk off these! OK, actually you can’t, but they do contain chocolate liquor. Sadly, it’s the very last ingredient listed (after the always delicious locust bean gum), so you are fine to eat a few of these and hop behind the wheel. Just don’t go swimming for 30 minutes.

Pillsbury Churro Toaster Strudel Mascot

On another completely random subject, if you are ever in San Antonio, you can find some delicious churros in the Market Square, along with what is likely one of the only churro mascots in the world. Just don’t give him one of these Toaster Strudels.

Conclusion:

If I was in a rush one morning and grabbed one of these without looking at the box, I would probably be satisfied and go off to work contemplating new ways to waste time while being paid. But I was expecting some kind of churro flavor, and this one misses the mark on that.

Purchased Price: $2.06
Size: 11.7 oz box (6 pastries)
Purchased at: H-E-B
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (for 2 pastries with icing) 370 calories, 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 390 milligrams of sodium, 56 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen Snickers Peanut Butter Pie Blizzard

Dairy Queen Snickers Peanut Butter Pie Blizzard

What is the Snickers Peanut Butter Pie Blizzard?

It’s Dairy Queen’s co-Blizzard of the Month for August with its less fancy cousin Snickers Blizzard, which is a returning flavor. In addition to the titular candy, the Snickers Peanut Butter Pie Blizzard includes peanut butter and graham blended with vanilla soft serve.

How is it?

Straightforwardly solid. There’s not a whole lot of surprise in this Blizzard. If you like Snickers and peanut butter, then you are going to love this. As one who falls into that category, I figured this would be pretty good, and it was. The graham adds a nice layer of flavor, and all three elements blend together without any of them overpowering each other.

Dairy Queen Snickers Peanut Butter Pie Blizzard Closeup

With the peanuts in the Snickers and peanut butter, I thought there might be a little peanut overload, but I didn’t find that to be the case. This Blizzard is the opposite of Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates — you pretty much know what you are going to get…a pretty tasty treat. Nothing more, nothing less.

Is there anything else you need to know?

You are supposed to learn something new every day. I don’t know who made up that rule, and I’ve lived my life choosing to mostly ignore that advice. My brain can only hold so much information. But during this review, I learned Dairy Queen has coffee, or at least I’m pretty sure they do since my Blizzard was served in a generic coffee cup, presumably because my local DQ ran out of mini Blizzard cups.

Dairy Queen Snickers Peanut Butter Pie Blizzard Snickers Bar

OK, the fact that DQ serves hot brown caffeinated water is not an earth-shaking revelation, and perhaps you already knew that. But not being a coffee drinker, I had no idea. I also learned that using an actual Snickers bar as a spoon is a great idea, despite the weird looks I got. So I learned two things today, freeing up my schedule to learn absolutely nothing tomorrow.

Conclusion:

With so many Blizzard combinations over the years, it’s hard for any mixture to rise above the rest without throwing in a truly unique ingredient or flavor. Of course, neither Snickers nor peanut butter qualifies as such. But even so, this is a good addition to the Blizzard lineup and a tasty, if unspectacular, way to wind down summer.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: Mini
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Mini) 450 calories, 21 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 57 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 45 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Archie McPhee Fried Chicken and Lobster Candies

Archie McPhee Fried Chicken Candy

Fried Chicken and Lobster Candy are the latest “I dare you to eat this” candy from Archie McPhee, which offers a wide variety of wild and weird products. Previous confectionery offerings included coal, bacon, wasabi, and gravy. And now you can save all the hassle of preparing fried chicken or lobster and just eat them as candy instead.

Archie McPhee Lobster Candy

How are they? They’re bad. Epically bad. (Even Archie McPhee categorizes them on the website as “bad candy.”) Of course, I didn’t expect these to be good, but last year I tried Mr. McPhee’s candy canes that were clam and mac & cheese flavored (not together; that would be gross). They were somewhat palatable, even if they missed the mark as far as replicating the intended taste. These varieties do bring out the stated flavors a little more, but they are truly awful.

Archie McPhee Fried Chicken Candy 2

Besides having a less-than-pleasing appearance, the fried chicken version had a bit of burnt, sitting-out-for-three-hours smell to it. These made me think of when you go to your favorite fast food chicken joint just before closing time — which as a former fast food worker I highly recommend against — and you get whatever was sitting under the heat lamp about to be tossed in the trash.

Archie McPhee Fried Chicken Candy 3

As for the taste, it reminded me of overcooked fried chicken skin, and not even good fried chicken. I’m talking school lunch or low-level buffet fried chicken.

Unfortunately, things got even worse when the lobster version entered my mouth.

Archie McPhee Lobster Candy 2

It had no real smell at first, although after sucking on it for a bit, it exudes a rather fishy odor. The taste was almost indescribable. Granted, much of my recent lobster-eating experience involves either a fast food seafood restaurant or food truck, which may or may not be serving actual lobster, but I have done the whole wear a bib and use that fancy lobster claw crushing thing in the past.

Archie McPhee Lobster Candy 3

This taste did not bring me back to any of those, but I imagine it might be what lobster would taste like if you left it in the fridge for a month and then decided to take a bite. This one got spit out even faster than the fried chicken flavor.

Archie McPhee Lobster Candy Top

The only positive thing I can say about this experience is that the package designs are pretty solid. The image of the smiling lobster dousing him or herself with butter is both disturbing and delightful.

Are you curious what would happen if you tried both candies at the same time? Because I care deeply for your gastrointestinal safety, I decided to answer the question for you. The answer: gagging and near vomiting. But if you need to produce some actual puke to get out of going to school or prove to your boss that you need to leave work early, this might do the trick.

As harsh as this review might be, I’m a fan of strange, disgusting and creative food, so I do have to give Archie McPhee credit for putting these out. They would make a good gag gift, or if you are truly evil, maybe mix a few of these in with some regular wrapped hard candy and set up a hidden camera. Hilarity will surely ensue.

Purchased Price: $5.95 each
Size: 2.5 oz. box (about 12 pieces)
Purchased at: mcphee.com
Rating: 1 out of 10 (both flavors)
Nutrition Facts: The packaging says to call Archie McPhee for nutritional info. Since I didn’t finish a single piece and don’t ever intend to, I felt no need to call.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen Sour Patch Kids Blizzard

Dairy Queen Sour Patch Kids Blizzard

When you look at the list of possible Blizzard ingredients on the menu board, which oddly DQ doesn’t really publicize you can use to create a customized creation to your liking, just about everything has been already done between the regular Blizzard menu, Blizzards of the Month, a plethora of seasonal Blizzard menus, plus special Blizzards with movie tie-ins or for the second Tuesday of Lent. DQ has essentially admitted that all the reasonable combinations have been tried, as they tend to recycle some of the same or very similar Blizzards now and then.

Enter the Sour Patch Kids Blizzard, which as far as I can tell after four seconds of online research, is the first time DQ has used these sweet and sour gummies. This latest concoction features vanilla soft serve with Sour Patch Kids Redberry flavor (don’t worry, I didn’t know it was called that either) mixed with Sour Patch Kids Bitz.

The first thing that caught my attention was the smell, which is not something I normally notice or think about with a Blizzard. But this one exudes a fragrant essence of Sour Patch Kids, just like opening a bag of the tasty little fellows.

I’m not sure if the Sour Patch Kids in here were mutilated by the magic Blizzard machine, or if DQ calling them “Bitz” means they were already hacked to pieces before the mixing process. Either way, the pieces of kids are approximately the size of Nerds (which made me pine for the long-deceased Nerds Blizzard of years gone by).

Dairy Queen Sour Patch Kids Blizzard Top

The Bitz in mine didn’t seem to be as large or as plentiful as the promotional photos show, but I might have had a frugal and overzealous mixer. As you might have guessed, the coldness of the ice cream changes the firmness of the Sour Patch Kids a bit. They didn’t have the same soft chewiness you might be accustomed to, but I didn’t find that to be a drawback, and they do pack a sour punch.

The Redberry-flavored soft serve tasted great, like DQ somehow liquified a bag of red Sour Patch Kids and infused it into the ice cream. But before they liquefied the poor little kids, DQ apparently removed the sour coating because the ice cream flavor was all sweetness, and it was splendid. As a standalone treat, I’d eat the ice cream part all day (and all night).

Dairy Queen Sour Patch Kids Blizzard Spoon

The kicker is the little chunks of Sour Patch Kids, which of course still have the sour coating and seemed to have a delayed effect on my taste buds. So first you get the sweetness of the Redberry-flavored ice cream, then slowly you experience the sour flavor in your mouth as the Bitz free themselves from their ice cream cocoons, and then finally you get the sweetness again when you get to the gummy part of the Sour Patch Kids.

Sometimes you don’t know how much you wanted something until you see it, or in this case, taste it. Of all the possible things that can be thrown into a Blizzard, I’m not sure I would have thought of Sour Patch Kids. But I’m glad the Blizzard wizards at DQ gave it a try because it’s a winner in my book and a nice change of pace from some other recent Blizzards that always seem to revolve around chocolate, Oreo, or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Since Sour Patch Kids are not a regular DQ menu item, this one figures to be gone for good after July. You have been warned.

Purchased Price: $3.79
Size: Small
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small) 660 calories, 24 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 82 grams of carbohydrates, -1 grams of dietary fiber*, 86 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.

*The DQ website inexplicably lists a negative amount of dietary fiber. I’m no mathematician or nutritionist, but that seems to be impossible on many levels.

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REVIEW: Dairy Queen Zero Gravity Blizzard

Dairy Queen Zero Gravity Blizzard

When I saunter into my local Dairy Queen and order a Blizzard, I do so because it tastes good and is the most efficient way to significantly exceed my recommended daily allowance of sugar and saturated fat. I don’t buy one because it’s pretty and will get me likes on Instagram. With many Blizzards featuring varying shades of brown with a mix of chunks, they don’t really match up with some of those made-for-social-media drinks at the place that sells overpriced coffee.

But the new Zero Gravity Blizzard — here for a limited time to celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the July 20, 1969, moon landing — is a bit different.

For one thing, the name doesn’t even hint at its contents, unlike most Blizzard variations that pretty much give away the composition if you just ignore the superfluous superlatives, like outrageous or ultimate. This version offers Oreo cookie pieces mixed with cotton candy topping and vanilla soft serve, plus “space inspired iridescent blue and black swirls and galaxy sprinkles.” Even that description leaves some mystery, like what the heck is that whole last part? Well, it’s basically a lot of words and not a lot of taste.

I do have to give DQ credit for trying to up their game with this Blizzard and making an Instagram-worthy treat without going full Starbucks on us and using dragon fruit, passion fruit, or some other fruit that I’m not 100-percent certain really exists but don’t care enough to check.

Even so, this one is a bit of a letdown, starting with the name. In fact, Zero Gravity would be a good name for virtually any Blizzard variety except this one. We all know the standard presentation method for a Blizzard is a quick upside-down flip by the server, possibly followed by a smile and/or thank you (but those are optional). With the Zero Gravity, however, the DQ employee sheepishly explained that she was not going to turn it upside-down because “a lot of it would probably fall out.”

Huh? Does this even qualify as a Blizzard?

She hurried off before I had a chance to question this shocking revelation or inquire whether said Blizzard would be free because I vaguely remember that being the deal between the Queen of cow juice and her loyal subjects—that a Blizzard presented without the wrist-flip would be free.

Dairy Queen Zero Gravity Blizzard Tilt

So what did I do? Not wanting to fully test the power of gravity, I gave my “Zero Gravity” Blizzard a very slight and quick tilt. Gravity did indeed respond at a level well above zero and promptly sent some of my Blizzard on to the table of questionable cleanliness, as the photo attests.

Dairy Queen Zero Gravity Blizzard Blue

Dairy Queen Zero Gravity Blizzard Below

So what I had was an inaccurately named yet pretty spiffy-looking Blizzard. Now here’s the second letdown…it doesn’t taste that great. Sure, the mix of soft serve and Oreo is good, but the cotton candy flavor is very faint and hard to distinguish. The mysterious blue and black swirls have virtually no taste, and neither do the sprinkles; all that added was some shimmer and sparkle. Essentially what you have is a very colorful Oreo blizzard, which after you get past the top layer is considerably less colorful.

Dairy Queen Zero Gravity Blizzard Spoon

The Zero Gravity Blizzard is like one of those checks you get in the mail for some class action lawsuit about defective jelly beans in which you had no idea you were involved. You can tell from the envelope that it’s a check and perhaps get a little excited, until you open it and see that it’s for $1.21. An unexpected check like that is not bad, but it’s a bit disappointing and not what you had hoped for. Just like the Zero Gravity Blizzard.

Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: Small
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts:: (Small) 670 calories, 26 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 gram of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 300 milligrams of sodium, 98 grams of carbohydrates, -1 grams of dietary fiber*, 80 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.

*It would seem to defy the laws of mathematics to have -1 grams of fiber, but that’s what it says on the DQ website and the Internet never lies.